Current Affairs 2017 (August)

India to host steering committee meeting of TAPI gas pipeline

India is going to host the next steering committee meeting of the proposed 1,814 kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

Decision in this regard was taken at the sixth joint India-Turkmenistan Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) meeting on trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation.

The IGC discussions between both countries comprehensively reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations and took stock of the progress achieved in the areas of energy, security cooperation, civil aviation, information technology, science and technology, trade and economic cooperation, transport and connectivity, cultural and educational matters.

About Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline

TAPI gas pipeline project or Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline is a proposed trans-country natural gas pipeline developed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The pipeline first proposed in 1995 will transport natural gas from energy rich Caspian Sea (Galkynysh gasfields: fourth largest in the world) in Turkmenistan to India through Afghanistan into Pakistan. Construction on the project started in Turkmenistan on December 2015. It is expected to be operational by 2019.

The project will supply both India and Pakistan about 38 mmscmd of natural gas whereas Afghanistan will get 14 mmscmd supply. The life of supply is expected to last for period of 30 years and shall be operational from 2019. Member countries of the project have recommended establishing an inter-government joint security task force (JSTF) to serve as the nucleus of the safety of the pipeline.

Comment

TAPI gas pipeline project is considered as an important initiative of these four countries as it connects energy rich Central Asia with energy starved South Asia. It will enhance economic engagement through regional connectivity by economically integrating region stretching from the Bay of Bengal to the Caspian Sea. It will not just be a commercial project, but also help in providing peace and security in the region.

From India’s perspective, TAPI Project will provide an alternative supply source of gas with dependable reserves leading to enhanced energy security. It will further diversify the fuel basket to the benefit of Indian economy as it would be used mainly in power, fertilizer and city gas sectors.

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Black Carbon released by aeroplanes may be affecting ozone, monsoon: Study

According to a recent study by climate researchers, aeroplanes may be ejecting significant amounts of black carbon (BC) which in turn is affecting monsoon,  depleting the ozone layer and quickening glacier melt.

The study was conducted by climate researchers from multiple institutions in India including from the Indian Institute of Science and ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.

Key Facts

Earlier it was believed that airborne BC is unlikely to travel upward of 4 km and dissipate and settle down in few months under the influence of wind and rain. However, this study shows that such particles exist up to 18 km into the stratosphere, a stable region of the atmosphere.

Given the shape and location of these BC particles, researchers believe they could only derive from emissions from burning of aviation fuel in aeroplanes. As BC particles absorb heat, they warm the surrounding air, become lighter and rise to greater heights by a process called self-lift and persist for longer time in the air.

The airborne BC particles released by aeroplanes possess a problem because they can linger long time, enough to provide a fertile ground for other chemical reactions that can deplete the ozone layer. As, BC particles strongly absorb solar and terrestrial radiation and heats up the atmosphere it can also upset the monsoon system. If deposited on snow, it could accelerate the heating of snow and quicken the melting of glaciers.

Significance of Study: This is the first time that any group of climate researchers in the world has shown that black carbon from aircraft can go to the stratosphere and affect the ozone layer.

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